Team Effectiveness


Here are just a few of the types of teams with which I share my common sense message:

  • Senior Leadership Teams
  • Cross Function Teams
  • Project Teams
  • Virtual Teams

Team Effectiveness Model:

Using Common Sense Principles to Enhance Team Performance.

Teams are the building blocks of organizations. I work with all types of teams: from executive leadership teams to cross-site and cross-function teams to shop floor total quality improvement teams. In all instances, I use my Three Factor Teamwork Model to guide, plan, and execute projects.

The Three Factor Teamwork Model proceeds from the following assumptions:

1. All effective teams have a clearly defined purpose or charter.

A team’s purpose or charter is a statement that explains its reason for existence. In some cases, it is appropriate for teams to determine their own purpose or charter. In others, teams are assigned a purpose or charter by the leadership of their organization. Regardless of how it is generated, all teams need a purpose or charter to assist them in determining what is included and excluded from their scope of work. A team’s goals and objectives flow directly from its purpose or charter.

2. All effective teams are adept at handling internal teamwork issues.

Internal teamwork issues must be addressed and resolved if a team is to be successful in meeting its agreed-upon goals and objectives. There are three types of internal teamwork issues:

  • Infrastructure—team membership, ground rules, leadership, roles and responsibilities, meeting structure and frequency

  • Trust—an open, honest, and sharing climate that encourages participation, a climate in which people feel free to speak their minds
  • Spirit—the team’s belief in itself

3. All effective teams are adept at managing relationships.

Effective teams realize that they do not operate in a vacuum. They build and maintain strong relationships with their various constituencies. According to my model, effective teams:

  • Identify and manage relationships with the critical people in important outside constituencies

  • Understand success metrics as defined by the critical people in important outside constituencies
  • Create and nurture a successful image with outside constituencies

When teams successfully address these factors, they succeed. My goal is to assist teams in addressing all three factors and keep them focused as they go about the work of the team.

Team Effectiveness Snapshot: 20 Common Sense Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Teammates

Answer each question. Anywhere you answer “no” indicates an area in which common sense may be in short supply. Your truthful answers to these questions will provide you with the beginnings of a blueprint for enhancing the performance of your organization.

1. Has the team established a purpose—a reason for the team’s existence?
2. How well is the team doing in living its purpose?
3. Does the team have the right members? Are the correct people and roles represented on the team?
4. Has the team adopted a set of procedural ground rules (meeting frequency, face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, etc.)?
5. Has the team adopted a set of behavioral ground rules?
6. Is there a clear contract on what the team expects from the leader and what the leader expects from the team?
7. Do members of the team trust one another?
8. Are members of the team flexible—are they willing to change their points of view for the good of the team?
9. Do members of the team recognize one another’s contributions to the team?
10. Is there a sense of team spirit and esprit de corps?
11. Do team members act in a manner that indicates that they feel mutually accountable to one another for the success of the team?
12. How effective is the team in handling problems and setbacks?
13. Do all members participate equally in team decisions?
14. Do team members feel comfortable suggesting a controversial or dissenting opinion in team meetings?
15. How well does the team do in addressing and resolving conflicts among members?
16. Are team meetings well planned? Do you stick to the agenda?
17. Does the team meet with enough frequency?
18. Has the team actively worked on getting to know one another and on building strong relationships?
19. Are people proud to be part of the team?
20. How well does the team manage relationships with its stakeholders?